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Now All Roads Lead to France: The Last Years of Edward Thomas

Now All Roads Lead to France: The Last Years of Edward Thomas (Paperback)

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Synopsis

Edward Thomas was perhaps the most beguiling and influential of First World War poets. Now All Roads Lead to France is an account of his final five years, centred on his extraordinary friendship with Robert Frost and Thomas's fatal decision to fight in the war.The book also evokes an astonishingly creative moment in English literature, when London was a battleground for new, ambitious kinds of writing. A generation that included W. B. Yeats, Ezra Pound, Robert Frost and Rupert Brooke were 'making it new' - vehemently and pugnaciously. These larger-than-life characters surround a central figure, tormented by his work and his marriage. But as his friendship with Frost blossomed, Thomas wrote poem after poem, and his emotional affliction began to lift. In 1914 the two friends formed the ideas that would produce some of the most remarkable verse of the twentieth century. Their writing was far more than just war poetry, but it was World War I that put an ocean between them. Frost returned to the safety of New England while Thomas stayed to fight for the Old.It is these roads taken - and those not taken - that are at the heart of this remarkable book, which culminates in Thomas's tragic death on Easter Monday 1917.

Matthew Hollis is the author of Ground Water, shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize for Poetry, the Guardian First Book Award and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Now All Roads Lead to France is his first prose book. He is also the editor of Selected Poems of Edward Thomas.

More books by Matthew Hollis

Customer Reviews

Fluent and very readable. I was left with a much clearer understanding of Thomas's ideas of what poetry should be and how he came to start writing it. The sections on his relationship with Frost and their discussions were fascinating. I was hoping for more about why he wrote so little about the war.

- 19/04/2012
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